Many European air navigation service providers (ANSPs) have expressed deep concerns with the draft U-Space regulations currently being proposed by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
The draft regulations have, unusually, not been made public and ANSP concerns are not being expressed on the record. However, Unmanned Airspace understands that ANSPs have particular trouble with draft regulation 5.5. which states “The organisation in charge of the common information function shall not be related or connected in any manner or form to any U-space service provider and shall not provide any U-space services itself.”
This has been interpreted by many ANSPs and U-Space service providers (USPs) to effectively lock them out of providing the technology and data for the central traffic-management data exchange system – such as the Flight Information Management System (FIMS) developed by skyguide, the Swiss air navigation service provider, and AirMap the platform provider, in partnership with the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) in Switzerland https://www.unmannedairspace.info/uncategorized/switzerlands-drone-flight-management-system-goes-live/ – which provides the key technology interface between the drone operator, the ANSP, the USP and aeronautical/met data service providers.
Some USPs see this as preventing them from accessing the business opportunities which will arise from creating this critical technology but it is not made clear what “in charge” means or whether EASA is requiring the State and its national regulator to specify, build and maintain the service.
It is especially concerning for those ANSPs who have already developed operational U-Space architectures with technology partners. The final draft regulations are due to be made public at the start of December. Industry and ANSPs will be anxious to see whether the current form of regulation 5.5 makes into the published document.
According to Tanja Grobotek, Director Europe Affairs at CANSO, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation, writing on Linkedin following the visit of Patrick Ky, the Executive Director of EASA, to CANSO headquarters: “We also reaffirmed the important role that ANSPs will play in delivering safe, efficient and secure U-Space, while also ensuring safe integration with manned ATM systems. We highlighted that the draft Regulation on U-Space will need to address issues such as situational awareness, clear liabilities, responsibilities and costs, while maximising airspace capacity. This will require a flexible framework to maintain today’s safety standards, and must ensure neutrality and independence in the provision of critical functionalities based on safety, security, privacy and efficiency criteria. It must also permit airspace integration and enable equal access for whichever players can provide service quality without hampering safety levels.”
This story will be updated with new information as it becomes available